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Gorleston shop security to be tightened

PUBLISHED: 17:09 12 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:32 03 July 2010

SHOP security in Gorleston High Street is set to be tightened by police with the help of a former prolific offender.

A rehabilitated shoplifter, who wants to remain anonymous, has been working with officers from the local safer neighbourhood team to improve shop security in the town's High Street.

SHOP security in Gorleston High Street is set to be tightened by police with the help of a former prolific offender.

A rehabilitated shoplifter, who wants to remain anonymous, has been working with officers from the local safer neighbourhood team to improve shop security in the town's High Street.

An initiative spearheaded by PC Jason Howell has seen the former shoplifter interviewed about shoplifting methods and involved a survey of local shops which focused on security arrangements and areas of vulnerability.

PC Howell is currently analysing the results and the survey is to be used to encourage local shops to tighten up their security to prevent shoplifting.

“This has opened my eyes to areas within the town that I have not previously considered as being an easy opportunity for thieves to target,” explained PC Howell.

“This was a different approach to crime prevention; it has been very enlightening and given me an opportunity to see the other side to retail theft that will hopefully give me better knowledge to keep me one step ahead of the local criminals,” he added.

The former offender was able to give his views on shoplifting and why he used to commit crime in the High Street.

He said: “It was a case of desperation. I needed the money to fund my habit. Once all my other resources had been used up including my family there was no other choice.

“Jail was no deterrent; it was actually a relief to go to jail. It gave me an opportunity to get off the drugs. I had somewhere to sleep and good food to eat, I no longer had to sleep in a shed.”

The man explained he would often commit crime first thing in the morning taking advantage of shop staff who were not necessarily fully alert.

“I would walk out of one particular store with so much frozen meat inside my clothing it was difficult to walk,” recalled the former offender.

Selling on the stolen goods was very easy according to the rehabilitated shoplifter. “You build up your contacts through friends of friends, local pubs and other establishments would always take the opportunity for something cheap. They knew it was stolen but this did not matter. I could always sell meat and toiletries but would target chocolates in the lead up to Christmas.”

CCTV and shop radio links were a deterrent to the former thief who said if one shop spotted him, he knew all shops would be on the look-out so he moved elsewhere.

The rehabilitated shoplifter kicked his criminal habit by getting onto a drugs treatment order and script and is now settled in a relationship.

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